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Basking Shark

BASKING SHARK (Cetorhinus maximus)


Basking sharks are basically big whales, if whales were actually fish. Like every living human on this earth with a lick of sense, I love sharks, but I'll be honest with you, I'm real tired right now. So this is going to be a very special zoological review where instead of pitting some unsuspecting animal against my unrelenting scrutiny, I'm going to pit my exhaustion against my excitement to talk about sharks. Let's see what comes out on top.

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Basking sharks are really big and have giganto mouths that inspire google search prompts like "can a basking shark eat a human?" The short answer to that question is "no," and I'll get into why they have such big mouths that they don't use for eating big stuff in a bit.

They are the second largest shark species, and also the second largest fish in the sea, both by length and by weight. Being the second biggest anything is kind of like being the second man on…
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Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox

GIANT GOLDEN CROWNED FLYING FOX (Acerodon jubatus)
Here is a thing that is true: bats are one of the most adorable animals on the planet. 
Here is another thing that is true: big ol' fruit eating bats are even cuter than regular bats. They look as though someone took the cutest parts of a dog, a cat, and a demon and smooshed them together with a little fuzzy vest.
But - is being super cute enough to win my respect? Let's find out.
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The giant golden crowned flying fox is sometimes called a megabat, and is in fact the world's largest bat. The name "flying fox" is not an exaggeration because they're pretty much the size of a small fox, plus they can have an up to five foot wingspan which is absolutely fucking nuts. They weigh around two and a half pounds which doesn't seem like much, but just remember we're talking about a fucking bat here. I know I said that big bats are the cutest bat but this particular species is getting so big it borders on…

West African Lungfish

WEST AFRICAN LUNGFISH (Protopterus annectens)

Lungfish are one of those fish we learn about when we are kids, and we go on and on about how cool it is that there is a fish with lungs. Then, you know, you go on and take a whole lot of biology classes and find out that actually a lot of fish have lungs and that lungfish are only really special because their name has the word "lung" in it. Today, I'm going to take them down a notch.

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West African lungfish belong to a group of bony fishes (as opposed to the sharks which have cartilage instead of bones) called the "lobe finned fishes". The lobe finned fishes include other lungfish, coelacanths, and (technically) all terrestrial vertebrates. The whole point of a lobe fin is that it is sturdier than a regular fish fin, and that sturdy fin was what enabled vertebrate animals to eventually make their move to land. To put this into context, imagine a goldfish trying to walk around on land with its paper thin fli…

Banded Sea Krait

BANDED SEA KRAIT (Laticauda colubrina)

The banded sea krait is a type of sea snake - I'm not 100% clear on what the difference between a snake and a krait is, if there is one - that lives in tropical climes and has a somewhat unfounded reputation for being deadly to people. I think they're neat because they look like a pair of socks I own.

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Sea kraits are super weird because, unlike regular snakes which hunt on the land, they hunt on the sea. To do this with any degree of success, they have to have a whole bunch of adaptations for functioning underwater. Probably the most striking is their paddle shaped tail which they use to swim quickly through the water. But, because they mate and shit on land, they have to still be adapted to move through the dirt. So they are creatures of two worlds, like Aquaman.

The banded sea krait specifically hunts around the coral reefs in the Indo Pacific, so, like reef fish, it has fun colouration to camouflage in the corals from prospect…

Ghost Plant

GHOST PLANT (Monotropa uniflora)

So it took only four animal posts before I decided "hey, I'm going to write about a plant instead". Granted, I picked one of the least plant-like plants to write about, but still, this post is going to be more Botanical Review than Zoo Review. With that said, let's see how well this weird-ass fuckin plant stacks up in the categories I chose specifically for animals and using the arbitrary point system I invented! Whee!

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One of the things that you might notice first about the ghost plant is it's ghostly appearance. That's right, it's called the ghost plant because instead of being green like a normal plant, it's almost translucent white like a weirdo. That's because it is heterotrophic (I'll explain what that means in more detail later on) and doesn't have any chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plants green. So they end up looking like creepy tendrils growing out of the ground. That makes ghost pla…

Killer Whale

KILLER WHALE (Orcinus orca)
This one is going to be a little more biased than usual because the killer whale was my favourite animal up until I was six and some asshole kid at school told me they were "stupid", crushing my self-esteem and love of Free Willy in one fell swoop. After that, my favourite animal for a long time was grey wolves, the killer whales of the land. But, deep down, I still harbour a special place in my heart for these big glorified dolphins.

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Killer whales are known for their distinctive and cool black and white look. Nobody says it, but in a lot of ways they really rock the goth aesthetic. Orcas from different parts of the world can be differentiated by their colour pattern, and humans can recognize individuals within groups by their unique markings. That's pretty neat!

They're also big fucking animals. For some reason, probably because most people's experience of orcas, no matter how removed, is captive animals, they seem less dang…

Common Ostriches

COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus)

Ostriches are large, flightless, terrestrial birds. The scientific name means "ostrich camel" which is frustrating because ostriches are not camels. But, they do live in the desert and some crazy motherfuckers ride them, so I can see where the comparison is apt.

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Ostriches are one of those animals that we accept as real only due to familiarity. They look as though the whole point of their evolutionary history was to make all who look upon them say "what the fuck?". Allow me to describe an ostrich to you: they stand at least 2.1 meters tall, and can weigh up to 157 kg (that's 6'11 and 346 lbs, respectively). Unlike normal, god-fearing birds, they cannot fly, which is a mercy because flying ostriches would be even more terrifying. They have long sexy legs that end in three toes equipped with talons that would make Dr. Alan Grant nod approvingly. And finally, they have a crazy sock puppet neck with a tiny head and eye…